LECTURE/SEMINAR > 31 Jan - 1 Feb 2020: Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Lecture Series in Chinese Buddhism at SOAS: S. Travagnin (Groningen)

Ema Sala Discussion

Dear all,

we are very excited to announce the second Ho lecture of this academic year (and the first of 2020), sponsored by the Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation. 

Our speaker will be Dr. Stefania Travagnin, from Groningen University. 
Her lecture, with the title "Invisible Nuns and Ancillary Female Temples: Unfolding a Different Narrative of Modern Chinese Buddhism", will be held on Friday, 31 January 2020, in SWLT (Senate House), at SOAS University of London.
The following day Dr. Travagnin wil hold a seminar entitled "The Discourse(s) of Modern Sichuan Buddhism: Interactive Networks and the Reconstruction of Local Religious and Cultural History". 
The lecture will be free and open to all. The seminar is also free, but requires registration. To register, please email me at es27@soas.ac.uk.
You can find more information below and on our website.
The is the second event in a series of three; watch this space for more news!
Looking forward,
Emanuela Sala
Centre of Buddhist Studies
SOAS University of London
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square
London WC1H 0XG
United Kingdom
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Invisible Nuns and Ancillary Female Temples
Unfolding a Different Narrative of Modern Chinese Buddhism
31 January 2020
5:30 PM - 7:00 PM
Senate House, SWLT
The official narrative of the history of Chinese Buddhism has often been the story of so-called eminent male monks; in the modern period, that is the story of figures like Hongyi, Tanxu, Taixu, Xuyun, Yuanying and so on. Generally, this historical account does not give enough credits to other less published – hence less eminent – monks and also neglects to mention nuns; yet, non eminent monks and Buddhist women were quite active participants in the time of change.

This lecture will propose a parallel and different narrative of modern Chinese Buddhism, and tell how nuns and small ancillary nunneries in particular have contributed to this new page in the religious history of China. Life, practice and agency of invisible nuns have intersected with initiatives of male monks who were less eminent than the famous male masters, therefore this talk will also explore those not well known male monastics, and unpack cooperation and dynamics from the early twentieth-century up to now. The lecture will conclude with some methodological reflections on how to address and frame the history of (modern) Chinese Buddhism, and advance a network-based model as a valid option; this topic will be further analysed in the seminar.
The Discourse(s) of Modern Sichuan Buddhism: Interactive Networks and the Reconstruction of Local Religious and Cultural History
1 February 2020
10:00 AM - 1:00 PM
Brunei Gallery, B102
Sichuan is as an active centre of religious knowledge production, with networks that have later extended beyond the provincial borders; Sichuan is then not just a reception site of knowledge transmission from the more advanced coastal areas, and for this reason it deserves to be re-located from the periphery to the centre of the study of Chinese religions.

This seminar will focus on Han Buddhism in modern Sichuan. The first part of the seminar will examine three topics: the range of sources available for this research; the major patterns, networks, and discourses that form the texture of modern and contemporary Han Buddhism in Sichuan; cross-border interactions with other local histories, so to position Sichuan within the wider map of China.

The second part of this seminar will shift the attention to more methodological and conceptual concerns; we will discuss how to better classify and analyse modern and contemporary Buddhist history, the relevance and taxonomy of network-based methods, and the agency of ‘space’ as an analytical category. The study of Sichuanese Buddhist history will then become a research model applicable to other geographical areas.
Stefania Travagnin is the founding Director of the Centre for the Study of Religion and Culture in Asia at the University of Groningen. Travagnin obtained a MA in Chinese Studies from Ca’ Foscari University (2000), and a PhD in the Study of Religions from SOAS (2009). Her research explores Buddhism and Chinese society from the late Qing up to the present time. Her publications include the edited volumes Religion and Media in China (Routledge 2016), Concepts and Methods for the Study of Chinese Religions I: State of the Field and Disciplinary Approaches (with André Laliberté; De Gruyter 2019), Concepts and Methods for the Study of Chinese Religions II: Intellectual History of Key Concepts (with Gregory Scott; De Gruyter 2020), Concepts and Methods for the Study of Chinese Religions III: Key Concepts in Practice (with Paul R. Katz; De Gruyter 2019). She is directing, with Elena Valussi, the project ‘Mapping Religious Diversity in Modern Sichuan’ funded by the CCKF (2017-2020).